Is Solar for You?

Solar power is reliable and renewable, and it will give you a powerful return on your investment. We look at how it works and why you will want to invest in a solar power system for your home.

 

Going green no longer just a trend

Consumers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and/ or services, and leaning towards supporting companies who are making genuine efforts to improve their sustainability rankings.

 

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Woodoc water-borne deck sealer

Woodoc have done it again, with a range of Woodoc water-borne exterior sealers that offer maximum protection for decks and exterior timber. Not to be confused with water-based sealer, this product uses water as a carrier for the unique formulation of resins that enhance and protect a timber deck.

 

Living that's natural and relaxed

Vera Lachia designs homes in Portugal that not only reflect a more relaxed lifestyle, but also incorporate the use of natural materials and contemporary style that's fresh and extraordinary.

 

 

Smart investments for kitchens and bathrooms

Styles may come and go but kitchen and bathrooms will also continue to plan an important role in any home. In a newly built home the homeowners will design a kitchen that meets their immediate needs, but in an older home it's nice to know that improvements can be done to keep up with modern trends.

 

Green design ideas for modern living

Eco friendly design options, sustainable building materials, move towards a greener lifestyle - these are all considerations for today's modern home. Homes should use less energy and offer a comfortable, healthy environment for the occupants.

 

 

Adding a rope bannister to staircase

Nancy Muchangwa, our resident DIY Divas, is busy doing improvements to her house. One improvement is to knock down the wall at the side of the staircase, as it blocks a lot of light and makes the staircase cramped and dark. After looking at various alternatives I stumbled upon a rope bannister as an affordable way to finish off a staircase...

 

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Bamboo... More than just floors

The buzzword all around the world these days is ‘sustainability’. Going green is even becoming an increasingly prominent trend in home décor, as we look for ways to beautify our living space, while helping the environment.

 

Glass... sustainable design option for home interiors

Judging by the number of queries I receive, there are plenty of homeowners out there who are living with face brick walls, especially with a fitted fireplace, that hate the look. While we have previously look at painting a face brick wall, another option to consider is cladding the wall.

 

Modern face brick interiors

Who said face brick is dated and old fashioned? Some of today's modern home still feature face brick as part of the design. And you only have to look at some of these divine interiors to know that face brick doesn't have to be old fashioned!

 

Reclaimed timber ceiling

If you have a little DIY know-how, you can be creative with reclaimed timber and completely alter the look of a room in just one day. Many tend to overlook a ceiling, but here's how you can transform a ceiling using reclaimed timber.

 

Cape Town home features raw finishes

Galvanized steel, cast concrete, zinc roofing and an abundance of hard- and softwoods form the foundation for a Cape Town home that hugs the cliffs in Bantry Bay. Designed by architects SAOTA in collaboration with Antoni Associates.

 

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Shutters - Style without compromise

 Adjustable shutters allow you to control the amount of light you let into your home, depending upon the time of day and location of the sun, and still have air circulating through your home during the hot summer months.

 

Rustic homes using reclaimed materials

This divine Swedish apartment is decorated in pure whites throughout. The effect is a small space that feels spacious and has a fairytale atmosphere. Clever layering of textures and a few subtle splashes of colour here and there make the rooms feel anything but sterile.

 

DIY concrete countertops

When most people think of DIY concrete countertops, the first reaction is that making a concrete countertop is not easy. Well, there is a fair amount of work involved, but at the end of the day you could save yourself thousands of Rands with do-it-yourself concrete countertops.

 

Beautiful walls... naturally!

These days it's easy to have good looking walls without the hassle or fuss of installing tiles. Cementitious (cement-based) products are now easily available off-the-shelf for any savvy DIY home improvement enthusiast to tackle themselves.

 

Building green

It's a brave family that demolishes an old house to build a greener home. They moved into a rental home and watched their old house be demolished day by day, and then watched the transformation take place as their new, green home was built in its place.

 

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Frameless glass windows and doors

Sit back and enjoy the view when you install frameless windows, frameless folding or sliding doors, as these offer an unobstructed and panoramic view of the surroundings.

 

 

Reclaimed materials an integral part of design

Reclaimed materials, particularly lumber products, are definitely becoming the material of choice for many architects and designers around the world. I wanted to show how reclaimed materials are incorporated into modern home design, without having a 'log cabin' look.

 

Sustainable design for homes and interiors

The Hillside House is a statement of what is possible combining high design with sustainability. This modern home has received Platinum LEED certification.

 

 

Don't tile when you can CemWash

Don't think that you have to tile bathroom walls and floors when there are so many other options to choose from.

 

 

Care for wooden windows & doors

There is a beauty to timber windows and the homes they grace, and if they are well maintained, they can last a lifetime. Charl Jacobz from Swartland offers some tips and advice on how to best maintain their beauty.

 

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Glass blocks let in natural light

I have always considered glass blocks to be perfect for bathrooms - they let in plenty of natural light without any loss of privacy, and now that they are available in soft and bright colours, you can use glass blocks in even more creative ways.

 

Installing wooden windows and frames

Windows are an important element in how a home looks. From a design point of view window styles are suited to particular styles of homes.

 

 

Let more natural light into your home

If you find that your home has dark areas that don't receive any natural light, there are various home improvement projects that you could consider to let in more natural light, or allow natural light into dark areas.

 

Bamboo floors - a good choice

It has been well over a year since I installed bamboo floors in the bathroom, and I am happy to report that it still looks as good as when installed. The bamboo laminate floor is installed in our second bathroom, which serves as the main bathroom for two grown boys and as a guest loo, so it takes a fair amount of routine and traffic.

 

Restore parquet floors

You either love or hate parquet floors but when cared for and maintained, parquet floors are a valuable investment in a home. If you have parquet floor buried under layers of carpet, perhaps consider the option of restoring the floor to its original condition.

 

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Choose a natural clay brick floor

Since writing my first article, brick floors definitely seem to be a consideration for home floors, whether in a kitchen, bathrooms, or any room in a home. Clay brick is by far the most affordable flooring option and is available in a wide selection of colours, from light to dark.

 

Benefits of a concrete patio

With more decorative options than ever before, concrete patios are attracting homeowners who want an outdoor surface that offers the ultimate in design versatility. Concrete patios also have the edge when it comes to durability and low maintenance.

 

Plywood floors

So many homeowners are looking for affordable - and eco friendly - ways to update and improve a home. I recently came across an article or two on installing plywood as flooring and while I originally had my doubts, after giving it some thought I realised that you can indeed use plywood for flooring - and it's probably a great idea for a den, games room, children's bedroom or playroom.

Brick floors

Brick has a natural beauty that blends perfectly with almost any style of home. Once sealed and protected, a brick floor is just as versatile as any other type of flooring - if not more so.

 

 

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Invest in bamboo flooring

Bamboo is an excellent, ecological flooring option, but not all bamboo is created equal. Since it caught on in the early 90s, this building material has been heralded as a green, sustainable, plentiful resource.

 

Stain or paint concrete floor

Many homeowners are choosing to have a concrete floor rather than tile or carpet their interiors. This versatile and low maintenance flooring option can be polished, stained or painted.

 

Natural stone floors

Floors usually undergo heavy traffic in your home. They are expected to cope with the traffic flow on a daily basis. Added to that, floors are susceptible to spillages, heavy weight objects that rest on it and they have to look good whilst doing all that.

 

Bring concrete to life

Despite its many wonderful attributes, concrete slabs can be boring. Whether we are talking about a concrete verandah, a pathway or a driveway, there is something very uninspiring about the flat, dull look of grey concrete.

 

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Pros and cons of a thatched roof

Thatched roofs have endured for thousands of years, offering a durable roofing option that not only adds character to a charming cottage, but a modern home as well. However, there are pros and cons to having a thatched roof and it helps to know what to expect if you are considering having a thatched roof on a house.

 

Building a green home

Cutting-edge energy efficiency and stunning contemporary design are the keywords for a home that is elegant, functional, and efficient, and green - the home scored at the gold level under the US National Green Building Program. Is this the home design that we, in South Africa, can look forward to in the near future?

 

Build with reclaimed materials

With the ever increasing cost of construction materials, the wise DIY builder should whenever appropriate, try and purchase them second-hand. In fact, a surprising variety of materials can be obtained without ever entering a builder’s merchant, hardware or DIY shop.

 

Home design set in concrete

Fu-Tung Cheng's work has become internationally known for its sophisticated, understated design and innovative use of concrete throughout the home.

 

 

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Safely remove and dispose of asbestos

Lurking in many buildings, its safe removal and disposal is a must. But how do you spot it, and what do you do with it once it's found?

 

 

Keep heat in and cold out this winter

You can switch on as much heat as you like to warm up a home, but if there are gaps under doors in your home, you're just wasting electricity. Install a door sweep to keep out cold draughts and your home - and family - will start to feel the heat.

 

Let more natural light into your home

If you find that your home has dark areas that don't receive any natural light, there are various home improvement projects that you could consider to let in more natural light, or allow natural light into dark areas.

 

Window tinting & glass glazing

There is definitely some confusion between the terms 'window tinting' and 'window film' and we asked an expert window tinting company to explain the difference between these two window treatments.

 

How to install ceiling insulation

Home owners spend a lot of money on heating and cooling the home yet home insulation offers an affordable and energy efficient way to keep a home cool or warm.

 

 

Home insulation saves you money

We've had a couple of very chilly days over the past two or three weeks. You can spend a lot of money on heating and cooling a home yet home insulation offers an affordable and more energy efficient way to keep a home cool or warm.

 

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Solar tube skylights

Solar Tubes or Tubelites are an excellent way to get natural light into parts of your home that don’t have any windows, or rooms that are situated on the south-east side of a home. These skylights are one of the most popular home improvement projects being done right now.

 

Things to know about concrete countertops

I would like to share a few things we would do differently if we were to start over on our concrete countertops. Don't get me wrong, we love our concrete countertops but we have also done some experimenting and would make a few slight changes. I’m hoping these will help some other brave people out who might just attempt this monster project too.

 

Gallery of ideas for using concrete

A small selection of modern homes that use concrete in inventive and imaginative ways.

 

 

Fit a water-wise shower head

Replacing your old shower head with a modern shower head doesn't take more than 30 minutes tops. With a few basic hand tools you can enjoy an entirely new showering experience, and probably save water while you do! You will find a variety of water-saving shower heads at your local Builders Warehouse.

 

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